The 2017 Academy Award Nominations will be announced on Tuesday morning, and there are a few things that are practically set in stone: La La Land and Moonlight are going to get nominations for Best Picture, Viola Davis is a shoe in for a much deserved nomination (and probable win) for Fences, and Casey Affleck will continue his streak as Affleck of The Year (I love you, Ben, and I have faith that you will rise again. But you had the worst year of any celebrity, and we are talking about 2016.).
All of the nominees I've mentioned above are deserving, but there are always some great films and performances that don't make the cut. The following are not my choices for what should win the individual awards, but rather, they are a group of very worthy nominees that probably won't happen, but should:
Michael Keaton and Tom Hanks for Best Actor in a Leading Role, The Founder and Sully
Keaton is well liked by the Academy at this point after very narrowly missing out on a win for Birdman, but the movie itself has failed to pick up any traction. But his performance as the morally and ethically shaky but annoyingly charismatic Ray Kroc is a standout, and he deserves to be recognized. As for Hanks, no one is going to disagree that he did a terrific job, but at this point it seems that he will have to reinvent the wheel in order to get any recognition (there is a down side to two wins in a row.)
Hailee Steinfeld for Best Actress in a Leading Role, The Edge of Seventeen
Sam Neill for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Nina Ariande and Sofia Boutella for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Florence Foster Jenkins and Star Trek Beyond
who Nina Ariande even is. But if, like me, you melted into sobs as Agnes Stark, the sassy, uncouth wife of an insecure dilettante, stood up to the crowd of jeering soldiers to defend Florence's right to sing, you know exactly why she deserves this nod. Never has the word "@$$holes" been so inspiring (at least not until the next time people stood up for Meryl Streep's right to be heard on stage.)
"No Dames!" by Harry Krieger for Best Original Song, Hail Caesar!
This howlingly humorous and haplessly homo-erotic send up of old fashioned Hollywood song and dance numbers was probably the highlight of the entire film (though George Clooney's Biblical epic speech, peppered by the reactions of Clancy Brown, was a close second) and it a live performance would be one of the highlights of the awards broadcast.
Shane Black & Anthony Bagarozzi for Best Original Screenplay, The Nice Guys
Melissa Matheson, Best Adapted Screenplay, The BFG
More than just an obvious sentimental choice, this is a very worthy one. Roald Dahl isn't the easiest author to adapt, and The BFG doesn't follow nearly as clean and simple a narrative structure as Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. But Matheson caught the essence of the book perfectly, while opening up the cinematic possibilities and providing an added layer of depth. Matheson took a truly squiffling children's classic and turned it into a screenplay that is truly whoopsy-splunkers, and that's not just hyerbole.
Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt, Best Film Editing for Captain America: Civil War
Jon Favreau for Best Director, The Jungle Book
You might think it was all about the effects. Of course it was, but someone had to have the vision to use those effects, well . . . effectively. It took not just a good director, but a visionary one, to not only make this look real, but feel real, on every level. The interaction between Mowgli and his C.G.I. companions was more convincing and engaging than any of the human on human interaction in Maleficent, and Favreau's painstaking attention to detail and passion for the material shone through in every frame. He broke new ground while staying planted firmly as a storyteller, and in doing so created pure magic from beginning to end.
Best animated Feature, The Little Prince
Greig Fraser, Best Cinematography for Rogue One
Sing Street, Best Picture
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